Tonight, the best night of 2019 to see Jupiter


Illustration: SCIEPRO (Getty Images)

This night will be the best night of the year to contemplate Jupiter and its many moons when Earth, Jupiter and the Sun will line up all in row, making the gaseous planet brighter.

Jupiter reaches this position – called opposition because opposed to the sun – every 13 months; it is also close to its closest distance from the Earth, which will make it look even bigger.

Brian Resnick, Vox science journalist, gives tips for optimal visualization of Jupiter:

You should be able to observe Jupiter and his four brightest moons – Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede (you can see them by several clear nights) – with a pair of binoculars. And with a telescope, you'll see some of the individual cloud belts on Jupiter, and maybe even the big red spot.

During the opposition, Jupiter will rise at dusk in the southeast sky (to the northeast if you are in the southern hemisphere) and stay in the sky until dawn. I suggest using a smartphone app, such as Sky Guide, to find it and track it for yourself.

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and has an impressive collection of 79 moons.

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